Arrests of US Sailors in Okinawa Reignites Opposition to Bases

Justin McCurry
The Christian Science Monitor
October 18, 2012

The arrest of two American sailors on suspicion of raping a woman in Okinawa has reignited tensions over the US military’s longstanding presence on the southern Japanese island.

Japanese police are questioning the suspects, named as Seaman Christopher Browning and Petty Officer 3rd Class Skyler Dozierwalker, both 23, who were arrested after allegedly raping the unnamed woman as she walked home in the early hours of Tuesday. Mr. Dozierwalker has reportedly admitted to committing the crime, Japanese media said.

Japan’s Defense minister, Satoshi Morimoto, called the alleged rape an “extremely egregious and vile incident,” and attributed it to a “failure on how the US military trains its personnel.”

To read the full story in the Christian Science Monitor, click here.

For additional reporting on this issue, refer to the links below:

Pentagon Aiding Probe of Alleged Rape of Okinawa Woman by Two U.S. Sailors, CBS News, October 18, 2012

U.S. Tries to Soothe Okinawa Nerves, The Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2012

Two US Sailors Accused of Okinawa Rape,  The Guardian,  October 17, 2012

Japanese Fury as 2 US Sailors Arrested in Okinawa Rape Case,  Digital Journal,  October 18, 2012

Fixing a Broken System: Rape and Sexual Assault in the Military (September 2012)

 

The Hastings Women’s Law Journal symposium “Fixing a Broken System: Rape and Sexual Assault in the Military” was held September 28, 2012 at U.C. Hastings at the San Francisco Alumni Center was a resounding success.

For anyone who missed it, video of the symposium in its entirety is available through the U.C. Hastings Livestream website here: http://www.livestream.com/uchastings

Rape in the Military (Part 1/3)

Rape in the Military (Part 2/3)

Rape in the Military (part 3/3)

DADT – Zoe Dunning

List of Participating Speakers:

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA)
John D. Altenburg, Jr., Major General, U.S. Army (Ret.)
Philip D. Cave, Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Josh Connolly, Deputy Legislative Director, Office of Congresswoman Jackie Speier
Zoe Dunning, Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Kathleen Gilberd, Co-Chair, National Lawyer’s Guild Military Law Task Force
Maia Goodell, Chair, New York City Bar’s Military Affairs and Justice Committee
Victor M. Hansen, Professor of Law, New England Law Boston
Elizabeth L. Hillman, Professor of Law, University of California Hastings College of the Law
Shira Maguen, Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor, Dept of Psychiatry, UCSF
Rachel Natelson, Legal Director, Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN)
Teresa Panepinto, Director of Legal Services, Swords to Plowshares
Kate Weber, Survivor of Military Sexual Trauma
Bridget J. Wilson, Esq., Major, California Guard, U.S. Army Reserve, Enlisted (Ret.)

Seminar Sponsors:

Combat Paper

The National Institute of Military Justice

The O’Brien Center for Scholarly Publications

The UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy

Okinawa Residents Angry Over Attack on Woman by U.S. Serviceman

 

The Mainichi
August 21, 2012

Residents in this base-hosting prefecture have expressed outrage over an indecent assault on an Okinawa woman by an American serviceman, reiterating their calls for a withdrawal of U.S. forces.

“The pain and fear felt by the victim are immeasurable, and the incident provoked strong fear among local communities,” said Suzuyo Takasato, a representative of the “Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence,” during a press conference at the Okinawa Prefectural Government office on Aug. 20.

Corporal Iian Tarver, 21, of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Camp Zukeran is under arrest for allegedly committing indecent acts on a woman in her 40s and injuring her after dragging her to the ground on a road in Naha at around 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 18.

To read the full story at The Mainichi web site, click here.

 

[IMAGE CREDIT: Suzuyo Takasato, second from right, a representative of the “Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence,” calls for a withdrawal of U.S. forces during a press conference at the Okinawa Prefectural Government office on the afternoon of Aug. 20. (Mainichi)]

Dear Todd Akin,

I am writing to you tonight about rape. It is 2 AM and I am unable to sleep here in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am in Bukavu at the City of Joy to serve and support and work with hundreds, thousands of women who have been raped and violated and tortured from this ceaseless war for minerals fought on their bodies.

I am in Congo but I could be writing this from anywhere in the United States, South Africa, Britain, Egypt, India, Philippines, most college campuses in America. I could be writing from any city or town or village where over half a billion women on the planet are raped in their lifetime.

Mr. Akin, your words have kept me awake.

As a rape survivor, I am reeling from your recent statement where you said you misspoke when you said that women do not get pregnant from legitimate rape, and that you were speaking “off the cuff.”

Clarification. You didn’t make some glib throw away remark. You made a very specific ignorant statement clearly indicating you have no awareness of what it means to be raped. And not a casual statement, but one made with the intention of legislating the experience of women who have been raped. Perhaps more terrifying: it was a window into the psyche of the GOP.

You used the expression “legitimate” rape as if to imply there were such a thing as “illegitimate” rape. Let me try to explain to you what that does to the minds, hearts and souls of the millions of women on this planet who experience rape. It is a form of re-rape. The underlying assumption of your statement is that women and their experiences are not to be trusted. That their understanding of rape must be qualified by some higher, wiser authority. It delegitimizes and undermines and belittles the horror, invasion, desecration they experienced. It makes them feel as alone and powerless as they did at the moment of rape.

When you, Paul Ryan and 225 of your fellow co-sponsors play with words around rape suggesting only “forcible” rape be treated seriously as if all rapes weren’t forcible, it brings back a flood of memories of the way the rapists played with us in the act of being raped — intimidating us, threatening us,muting us. Your playing with words like “forcible” and “legitimate” is playing with our souls which have been shattered by unwanted penises shoving into us, ripping our flesh, our vaginas, our consciousness, our confidence, our pride, our futures.

Now you want to say that you misspoke when you said that a legitimate rape couldn’t get us pregnant. Did you honestly believe that rape sperm is different than love sperm, that some mysterious religious process occurs and rape sperm self-destructs due to its evilcontent? Or, were you implying that women and their bodies are somehow responsible for rejecting legitimate rape sperm, once again putting the onus on us? It would seem you were saying that getting pregnant after a rape would indicate it was not a “legitimate” rape.

Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to close your eyes and imagine that you are on your bed or up against a wall or locked in a small suffocating space. Imagine being tied up there and imagine some aggressive, indifferent, insane stranger friend or relative ripping off your clothes and entering your body — the most personal, sacred, private part of your body — and violently, hatefully forcing themself into you so that you are ripped apart. Then imagine that stranger’s sperm shooting into you and filling you and you can’t get it out. It is growing something in you. Imagine you have no idea what that life will even consist of, spiritually made in hate, not knowing the mental or health background of the rapist.

Then imagine a person comes along, a person who has never had that experience of rape, and that person tells you, you have no choice but to keep that product of rape growing in you against your will and when it is born it has the face of your rapist, the face of the person who has essentially destroyed your being and you will have to look at the face every day of your life and you will be judged harshly if you cannot love that face.

I don’t know if you can imagine any of this (leadership actually requires this kind of compassion), but if you are willing to go to the depth of this darkness, you will quickly understand that there is NO ONE WHO CAN MAKE THAT CHOICE to have or not have the baby, but the person carrying that baby herself.

I have spent much time with mothers who have given birth to children who are the product of rape. I have watched how tortured they are wrestling with their hate and anger, trying not to project that onto their child.

I am asking you and the GOP to get out of my body, out of my vagina, my womb, to get out of all of our bodies. These are not your decisions to make. These are not your words to define.

Why don’t you spend your time ending rape rather than redefining it? Spend your energy going after those perpetrators who so easily destroy women rather than parsing out manipulative language that minimizes their destruction.

And by the way you’ve just given millions of women a very good reason to make sure you never get elected again, and an insanely good reason to rise.

#ReasonToRise

 

Eve Ensler

Bukavu, Congo

 

From the Huffington Post

Military Partners and Families Coalition (MPFC) has released an online Community Study Survey, as a result of an award given by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

The study, the first of its kind, will provide a better understanding of the health care disparities and possible inaccessibility for lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) servicemember families that may have resulted from the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT)’ policy. It will also highlight some of the challenges that the LGB servicemember family community continues to face today.

“We are members of a community that for many years has been hidden and not heard from,” proclaimed MPFC President, Ariana Bostian‐Kentes, “Mental health is just one of the realms in which the needs of the LGBT military family community have yet to be addressed and we are working to change that now. We intend to work closely with MPFC’s coalition members and other independent organizations to support all families of those serving our country.”

According to the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, reliable consumer health information helps people understand and advocate for their health and the health of their families, whether the information addresses specific health conditions and treatments or prevention and wellness. Through this survey, it may now be possible to bring consumer health information resources to a previously underserved population; improved physical and mental health may finally become a reality through targeted services.

Please take a few moments and share your experiences and thoughts by participating in the survey here. MPFC ensures anonymity of all those who choose to participate.

About Military Partners and Families Coalition (MPFC): MPFC is a private non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 2011 by a group of partners of active duty U.S. Armed forces servicemembers station in the U.S. and overseas. MPFC provides support, resources, education and advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender military partners and their families. For more information, go to www.milpfc.org.

04-03-12 By Stuart I. Quinn, Program Coordinator, MPFC

 

Originally posted at: http://www.sldn.org/blog/archives/guest-blog-military-partners-families-coalition-seeks-answers/

 

When “Jane” Comes Marching Home Again

 

Elayne Clift
Women’s Media Center
June 1, 2012

 

In May the Army began a new Defense Department policy that will open an additional 14,000 positions for women. Will we be ready for them when they come home?

It didn’t take long for Jenny McClendon, trained as a sonar operator in the Navy, to experience sexual harassment when she joined the military in 1997. Immediately subjected to harassment by her male counterparts when she refused their sexual advances, they said she wasn’t “tough enough to be in the military.” Finally she complained to superiors, who said that being harassed was a necessary part of training. A first class petty officer called her “a lesbian, a feminist, and a Democrat,” grounds for throwing her overboard, he said.

McClendon’s experience is not unusual. The kind of abuse she describes is widely acknowledged, although probably under-reported by female veterans. And it gets worse. Jenny McClendon was raped by a superior while on watch aboard her ship one night. It was the first of two “military sexual traumas” (MSTs) she suffered while in the service.

To read the full article at the WMC web site, click here.

VA/DoD PTSD Coach App Wins Innovation Award for Telemedicine Advancement

 

Veterans Today
March 30, 2012

 

 

The Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense (DoD) Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) coach mobile application marked its first anniversary with receipt of an award for innovation in the advancement of telemedicine from the American Telemedicine Association.

“The health and well-being of our brave men and women who have served this Nation is our highest priority,” said Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. “Using the popularity of mobile devices, we can provide important tools to Veterans wherever they are, whenever they need them, whether or not they receive care through VA or DoD.”

PTSD Coach, collaboratively developed by VA’s National Center for PTSD and DoD’s National Center for Telehealth & Technology, provides education, symptoms-tracking tools, self-assessment and connections to support individuals with PTSD. Since its public release on April 11, 2011, the app has been downloaded more than 53,000 times in over 60 countries. It is available for free download for both iPhone and Android devices.

To read the full story on the Veterans Today web site, click here.

 

The PTSD Coach app can help you learn about and manage symptoms that commonly occur after trauma.

Features include:

  • Reliable information on PTSD and treatments that work.
  • Tools for screening and tracking your symptoms.
  • Convenient, easy-to-use skills to help you handle stress symptoms.
  • Direct links to support and help.
  • Always with you when you need it.

Download the mobile app:

Free PTSD Coach download from:
iTunes* and Android Market*